The most important task for Brighton and Hove is to ensure that
the planned establishment of a care trust leads “directly to better
services for users”, according to a joint review by the Social
Services Inspectorate and the Audit Commission, writes
This will entail a “sustained focus on customer care, stronger
management of frontline services, and skilled management of change”
states the report, as well as ensuring good support for staff and
managing their workloads.
The authority is commended for its drive to modernise, and for
its commitment to integration with health.
Some, but not all, social services users are well served, and
there has been an overall improvement in the availability and
quality of services in recent years.
Older people are benefiting from better community care and
rehabilitation services, and there have been many good initiatives
across mental health and substance misuse services.
However, progress has not always been steady and outcomes for
users and their carers are still mixed. Social work services for
both adults and children need further attention, consolidation and
improvement, says the report. Sometimes changes have not been well
“While some necessary improvements have been slow to
materialise, others have been undermined by budget instability,
poor planning, or a lack of attention to detail,” reads the
There are extreme pressures on hospital beds combined with an
acute shortage of suitable accommodation for vulnerable people with
special needs, and closures of local residential and nursing homes
are resulting in a lack of placement choice especially for older
people with mental health needs.
Jean Spray, executive councillor for social care and health,
said: “It is an invaluable benchmark in our efforts to improve
performance and we accept the need to continuously strive to
deliver better services to more people. Frontline services are an
absolute top priority for us.”